The LG LK450 delivered a worse picture than its Sony and Samsung entry-level competitors, a showing that can be blamed squarely on light black levels (which get worse than usual for off-angle viewers). Its exemplary color accuracy, along with video processing and bright room kudos, can't close that gap.
The LG's Cinema mode provided the best picture before any tweaking, although it was quite dim (about half of our target 40 fL luminance) with bright gamma and a bluish-green color temperature. Nearly all of these issues disappeared after calibration, thanks again to LG's superb controls--one exception being color at black and near-black, which was still quite blue. It's worth noting that in the case of the LK450 we didn't have to adjust the color management system at all; out-of-the box saturation, hue and color luminance were all basically perfect. For our image quality tests we enlisted the models below and watched "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" on Blu-ray.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Samsung LN40D550||40-inch LCD|
|Sony KDL-40BX420||40-inch LCD|
|Vizio E3D420VX||42-inch LCD|
|Samsung LN46D630||46-inch LCD|
|Sony KDL-46EX720||46-inch LED-based LCD|
|Panasonic TC-P50ST30||50-inch plasma|
Black level: The LK450 tied with the Vizio for worst in our lineup at producing a deep shade of black. The difference was obvious between those two and the others in our dark room, and even visible in some scenes under bright ambient light. As usual dark areas, like the letterbox bars and the black walls of the courthouse in Chapter 13, for example, showed the biggest differences; in the LG's case these areas appeared washed out and significantly less realistic than on any of the other sets.
While the LG didn't obscure details in shadows, those darker areas again looked worse than the other displays because of those bright blacks.
Color accuracy: Measurements of the LK450 proved it delivered the most accurate color in our lineup, and its advantages over the plasma, the Samsung LND550 and, to a lesser extent, both Sonys, was visible in most scenes. In the forest in Chapter 14 showed accurate green and brown leaves, along with natural-looking skin tones on Harry and Hermione. The Vizio and Samsung LND630 appeared nearly as accurate. Accuracy isn't everything, however, and the LG's poor black levels made its colors appear more washed out, desaturated, and worse overall to our eyes than most of the others'.
Like many LCDs the LG's color accuracy didn't extend to dark areas, which were tinged the typical blue. Since those areas were brighter than the others in our lineup, that blue tinge was also more apparent.
Video processing: Like the BX420 the LG actually passed our 1080p/24 test by preserving the cadence of film. In the LG's case we had to engage the Real Cinema option; leaving it set to Off causes the characteristic stutter of 2:3 pull-down. Since the LK540 can take advantage of it, we recommend its owners use the 1080p/24 setting on their Blu-ray players.
Uniformity: The screen of the LK450 didn't have any of the bright spots we saw on the Sonys, maintaining its brightness and color well across its surface. From off-angle its blacks washed out quicker than any of the others, but on the flipside we didn't see as much discoloration as we did on the Samsungs and Sonys.
Bright lighting: The LG's matte screen serves it well in bright rooms where lights, windows and bright objects cause reflections. Such objects appeared dimmer and much less distinct, and thus less distracting, then they did on the Panasonic plasma, for example, and black levels were also preserved better. The rest of the sets in the lineup also have matte screens, and in general they all performed equally well in this category.
PC: Via VGA the LK450 passed our PC test, delivering full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, but we did see some edge enhancement (ringing appearing around some objects) that we couldn't quite defeat, despite trying for awhile with the two sharpness controls in the Expert menu.
Power consumption: Like most standard LCDs we've tested the LK450 is more of a hog than LED-based models, yet efficient enough that its yearly power toll would barely cover lunch for two. Its poor "default" number is due to a too-bright Standard setting, which still won't break most buyers' budgets.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0407||Poor|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2832/0.2757||Poor|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.314/0.3307||Good|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3125/0.3289||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||6633||Average|
|After avg. color temp.||6518||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||0.0828||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||0.8179||Good|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||0.9201||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2208/0.3298||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3214/0.1542||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4204/0.5083||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i De-interlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||300||Poor|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||n/a||n/a|
|PC input resolution (VGA)||1920x1080||Good|
|LG 42LK450||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||177.15||80.69||28.25|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.24||0.11||0.04|
|Cost per year||$38.94||$17.80||$6.30|
|Score (considering size)||Good|
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